Time is like a handful of water slipping through your fingers. One moment your hand is full, and the next, it’s gone. Fleeting though it is, its touch is familiar, and curiosity gets the better of you. You watch it for awhile, eluding you. Feel it, cool, trickling over your skin. Listen to the tinkling of it dripping into the sink, the pond, the ocean. Only reluctantly do you turn away and return to the task of living.
As you can see, this is a short piece. I’ll probably continue the trend of posting small pieces, short thoughts. I haven’t posted on my blog in months, but I’ve been writing the whole time. The question has been: what to do with it? Post all of it? None of it? What’s “appropriate” for the stage of life I’m in right now? Let it all hang out, be conservative, or somewhere in between? These are the questions I’ve been wrestling with. For now, I’ve concluded that I want to share some of it. For what it’s worth, which may be something, or nothing. Either way is fine with me.
My apologies to those who may have reached out to me in months past that I did not reply to. We’ll see how this goes, and I am planning on replying to comments and reading others’ material and leaving feedback in return.
I am alive
and sometimes, being alive sucks.
Being alive means painful feelings,
unhappy endings, stupid decisions,
and days where you just want to curl up in bed and call it quits.
But who ever said being alive felt good?
You know those times when people say
“I feel so alive?”
That’s the adrenaline talking.
And it’s only pumping in their veins
because they took a risk
and are two steps away from either falling flat on their face
or crowing in triumph.
Sometimes being alive means eating ice cream even though it’s bad for you,
or listening to someone because their story moves you
even though you’re exhausted and would much rather climb into bed.
It means days where you think “I can’t do this,”
but somehow you make it through the day
even though you doubted yourself the whole time.
It’s being with people who may drive you crazy
but who are there for you in a heartbeat.
It’s that moment when your heart is breaking
and it hurts to breathe but somehow
you look at the sun and you are broken but okay
that you know you are in the middle of a really good story.
I wrote this in five minutes while eating a scoop of ice cream that my rational self told me not to eat but my alive self said stop that car right now and get some ice cream and sit down and breathe.
Love is a safe harbor,
a refuge for the grieving,
a shelter for the windworn,
a steadfast tree in a storm.
Too often we think that love should be a whirlwind
of desires long unfulfilled, a reflecting pool
of our deepest, most secret wishes.
Love for me is more a steady beating,
a slow but sure walk home,
a light leading me through fog and dark.
Do not get lost in dreams of not enough.
Listen instead for the familiar greeting
of another weary traveler returning home.
I wrote this poem thinking about the most steadfast loves in my life. None of them resemble the dreams my mind shows me of great drama and romance. The greatest loves in my life are truly “safe harbors.” And for this I am grateful. I now challenge myself to be a safe harbor for my own self, as well! For someone reminded me recently that before we can truly love others, we must love and honor ourselves.
When your bones are heavy
Willing to sink to the earth,
Walk now to a quiet place
With plodding footsteps; go slowly
Into the place where the world will not overcome you.
Sometimes my place is the woods, where
The voices belong to birds
And the trees listen with infinite understanding.
Sometimes my place is a keyboard by the window
And my fingers weave a spiderweb of words.
Sometimes my place is the couch because my heart
Is simply heavy as a stone and refuses to budge.
All of these things will pass.
Your thoughts and feelings—your
Aches and pains, your heartache.
All of it will dissolve someday,
Replaced only by light.
Your decision lies in the dissolving.
Will you hang on bitterly
To the sinking stones, or will you swim—
Even if you must kick and gasp—
To the surface, to the light,
And let that which does not serve you fall?
It is always our choice, yours and mine.
Our power lies always in this choice.
Thank you for reading and peace be with you, 🌟 -Jenna
Three (maybe four?) years ago, I had the urge to start blogging. One of those nagging longings that stuck around in the back of my mind so long, I knew I had to take action. I found the perfect name scrawled in purple graffiti on a harbor pier and located its origin in the poet Rilke: Face to Face with the Sky.
I started a Tumbler. And it went nowhere. Maybe a year after that, I knew I had to try again. I discovered Word Press, and launched Face to Face with the Sky again. That went also went nowhere. My content sucked. It lacked focus; it lacked depth; I wasn’t sharing what was real and on my heart. Another year went by, and my mental health, which I have struggled with all my life, was deteriorating. Writing become my refuge. Scribbling and typing my solace. Somehow I decided to share this writing with the world. I started another blog, The Wishing Well, and wrote honestly about my mental health ups and downs. In one year I had over 500 followers and lots of activity on the blog. The content was good. It was real. I was sharing what was on my heart.
So what do you think I did? I deleted the whole thing.
I abandoned my followers. I didn’t even have the heart to respond to the most recent comments, so ashamed was I for running away. What shifted? In short, there was a war between my public and private life. My inner and outer worlds. My inner world was complex, heartbreaking, and beautiful; and yet, I was only sharing it with people online. Only a few people in my real life knew about my writing. The rest of the time, I was presenting a “presentable” self. To my boss. My coworkers. My landlord. Even some of my friends and family. The tension between these two selves reached a breaking point. Steven Pressfield wrote in his wonderful book Turning Pro about migrant workers who “rode the rods,” or stole away on trains across America. The migrant workers have a saying about what it means to abandon one job, one place, and move on to another. It’s called “pulling the pin.” The metaphor is that two train cars are attached by a single “pin” holding together their joined parts. Pull it out, and the car would roll away, no longer attached to the train.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve “pulled the pin,” or completely bailed out of things in my life.
When it comes to writing, I don’t want to do that any more.
All of this has been a long winded explanation of what I’m trying to accomplish with this renewed attempt at blogging: healing the war between these two selves. Let this blog be the place where I can merge my inner and outer worlds.
Peace be with you,
P.S. You can expect two focuses on this blog: mental health, and spirituality.
P.P.S. I love Instagram! @face2facewiththesky
P.P.P.S. I am excited to join you and witness your heart’s journey.